Is Social Media Technology Really Stealing Our Humanity?

Many people complain that rampant technology is robbing us of our humanity. In particular, social media is often named as a primary offender and culprit. The older generation (and at 51, I suppose I am a member of this demographic) complain that platforms like FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram reduce the opportunity for live vibrant dialogue. And while I agree there is some creedence to this point of view; I would posit this plethora of social media platforms allows us to have richer and more honest exchanges; albeit through a digital medium versus analog speech.

Communicating through these channels has a number of benefits which enable this different form of exchange. First, opening up and sharing your most honest thoughts is easier for many people through a digital gateway. There are many people who can express honest feelings through digital media who would not have the courage to do so aloud. This opens the possibility for people to share feelings and ideas they would ordinarily not express. Second, typing or texting on a device allows you the opportunity to compose, organize, edit and re-edit your thoughts. This level of measured control can help avoid mis-statements and prevent voicing unclear thoughts before one has had time to organize them in a positive fashion. Third, the ability to include photos and emoticons adds an additional level of expression, not usually possible in a live dialogue. These visual stimuli create an opportunity for a more robust conversation. And finally, these platforms are non-intrusive. They allow us to respond on our own terms at a time that suits us best when we are in a mood conducive for communications.

Now of course, there is an argument to be made contrary to some of the thoughts I have shared in this piece, but the truth is social media can be a very effective and fun way to communicate our most human thoughts and emotions.